The Department of Homeland Security invited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to evaluate fire safety education programs delivered to second grade students in school settings. The program documented changes in children's and parent's fire safety knowledge and behavior over time. Teachers, school administrators, and fire safety instructors (FSIs) were also surveyed. Eligible fire departments were recruited with an even distribution across urban, suburban or rural locations. Instruction took place in either the classroom/assembly or a fire safety trailer and results were compared to participants who received no instruction.
While similar at baseline, second grade students who received fire safety instruction in either the classroom or a trailer had significantly higher knowledge and behavior scores as compared to those who received no instruction, and maintained the knowledge over a six month period. Parents reported changes in fire safety actions, such as creating and practicing an escape plan, between initial reporting and follow up. Parents whose children received instruction planned more changes to fire safety behaviors in the home than those whose children did not receive instruction. More than half of parents indicated that changes resulted from information the child brought home or discussed with the parent after receiving fire safety education. However, there was dramatic variation in the types, structure, content and delivery of programs for both classroom/assembly and trailers limiting the ability to assess the effect of education in different venues. Structured, age-appropriate, and consistently presented curriculum or guidance for program development is needed. Further research should investigate the relative effects of standardized training provided in classrooms versus trailers and should support the development of behavioral and education theory-based guidelines for developing local programs or standardized, age-appropriate education programs.
Report Title: Evaluation and Assessment of the Effectiveness of Activities Supporting Fire Prevention and Safety
Agency Sponsor: CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal Contact: Julie Gilchrist, MD, 770-488-1178
Performer: McKing Consulting
Record ID: 9650 (Report issued April 30, 2010)